Rodriguez and Red Sox Blank Nationals

Eduardo Rodriguez cut through the anemic Nationals bats, limiting them to three hits in his six innings of work. The Nationals could get no runner to third base in the 3-0 loss. They were able to get two runners on off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning on two singles but Michael Taylor struck out and Wilmer Difo popped out to the catcher. The Red Sox fans cheered while a chorus of boos could be heard from the National fans, who have watched the Nationals now drop 18 of their last 24 games.

The Nationals bullpen was again taxed after Erick Fedde had to leave the game after giving up a leadoff single in the second. Matt Grace came on and pitched well, shutting the Red Sox out through the fifth inning. The report was Fedde left with a shoulder injury but the MRI was negative.

In the seventh the disappointing Ryan Madson came on to pitch. He had given up runs in three of his last nine appearances. Make that four of his last ten. Rafael Devers hit the ball hard, lining a double into left center. Eduardo Nunez lined a single into right field to put runners on first and third with no out. Adam Eaton made a spectacular sliding catch on a foul pop up in shallow left. Devers tagged and when Eaton pumped Devers took off for home. Eaton seemed surprised Devers broke for the plate and threw the ball home, off line, skipping past the catcher into the Nationals dugout. If Eaton had immediately thrown the ball rather than pumping Devers may not have gone. Nunez advanced to third. With two outs Madson threw a pitch in the dirt for ball four that bounced back to the screen and Nunez scored. Another way for the Nationals found a way to lose a ball game.

Two runs were all the Red Sox needed but they added another run in the ninth. Nunez blooped a single into center field off Kelvin Herrera. Jackie Bradley lined a hit and run double into the right centerfield gap to score Nunez. Herrera loaded the bases with a walk and hit by pitch and was replaced by Justin Miller, who retired the last hitter.

Game Notes: Kelvin Herrera is an extremely slow worker. He is new to the team and may have trouble working with Pedro Severino. Since his acquisition from the Royals his ERA is 4.05 in seven appearances. With the Royals his ERA was 1.05…J.D. Martinez warmed up with the ball girl in the ninth inning. The ball girl had a very good arm. That had to be a treat…Despite a lefthander on the mound Dave Martinez chose to sit Juan Soto instead of Adam Eaton or Bryce Harper. Eaton had sat the night before. Harper is only slugging .402 against lefthanders while he is slugging .515 against righthanders. He went 0 for 3 against Rodriguez…Last year the Nationals were only shut out seven times. Since the start of June they have been shut out eight times. The team has been playing so poorly the veteran leaders called the first player’s only meeting…Scott Boras attributes the pitchers starving Harper from the strike zone as the reason for his low batting average. He draws a lot of walks and still hits for power. How hard he hits pitches he swings at is a greater measurement of his ability than his low batting average. Currently his exit velocity is above average when compared to the major league average. Boras is still trying to salvage a poor season from Bryce, when he was looking at a $400 million contract. Machado will get a better contract than Harper next year.

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